Listen To The MUSIC

There’s a reason we sing tunes in synagogue — people listen.

Live rock music pulsed through the Rumsey Playfield area in Central Park. The sounds of the beating drums and the electronic guitar could be heard. Instead of indulging in a day of city shopping, my friends and I decided to stop, relax and enjoy the music. “After all,” I found myself saying, “When else can we have a picnic together with some live background music?” For me music is a necessity. I spend almost all of my free time listening to music on my iPod.

Music is created from a variety of different sounds. These sounds make one feel instantly blissful or sad, depending on the song. Whenever I have a bad day or whenever I just want to relax, I can always turn on the radio or plug into my iPod. Any sort of dance or rock song will lift my spirit. These songs include those of Tiesto, McFly and many other artists.  Some songs I enjoy include “Elements of Life” and “The Heart Never Lies.” Songs with melodious dance beats always make me feel elated.

Music brings people together, whether through singing along or playing an instrument in a band. “Whenever I play my bass with someone, we instantly become connected because of the tune,” said Garren Macklin, a resident of Teaneck, N.J., and an architect who enjoys playing bass in his spare time.

Similarly, there’s unity in davening when everyone in synagogue prays together through song. The harmony unites the congregation and wakes up those who are daydreaming. Occasionally, I find myself bored during davening and feeling sick of the monotonic mumbling of the shul. Singing creates more of a variety in methods of davening.

The words of some prayers are enhanced by special tunes. Kol Nidre is one prayer that is sung in a meaningful tone. Every Sabbath prayer ends with the singing of Adon Olam or Yigdal to confuse the Satan into thinking the services is just beginning. This shows that there is something trying to grab us away from our prayers, but singing shows that we are focused on praying, even at the end of the service. Music is a vital portion of prayers. 

Singing not only wakes up those who are sleeping, but it also helps us remember the different prayers. In school davening is taught through singing. Songs teach children about the holidays as well, such as “Apples and Honey on Rosh HaShanah” and “I Have A Little Dreidel.”

One may learn to appreciate language from how words sound when played together in a melody. For example, there are numerous Hebrew pop songs that can teach Hebrew and can show how eloquent Hebrew can be. Gad Elbaz is an Israeli pop singer who sings about similar ideas that people who speak English sing about. He sings about how tonight is the best time and how life should be lived fully. One can learn Hebrew or another language from songs. 

In addition, music enhances celebrations. For instance in school music is played and everyone gathers together and dances in honor of Purim or Lag Ba’omer. This creates a care-free, happy environment for everyone and enhances the holiday spirit.

“I really enjoy the dancing on holidays,” said Ruchie Zema, a senior at The Frisch School. “It helps bring out the ruach of the day — especially during a week of hard work in school.” 
Music is a conciliatory creation that can be enjoyed in many different places. For instance, music can be indulged in on a relaxing day in the park. On holidays one may find themselves listening and dancing to music to enhance the occasion. During prayers, one may hum along with the chazzan.

Music is important. Next time music is heard, remember how music has the power to unite everyone.

Gila Cohen  is a senior at The Frisch School in Paramus, N.J. 

This article is reprinted from October 30, 2009.